Guest post

by Dee Hennessy

The Derbyshire Matrix is a Leapfrog short project in which stakeholders from Derbyshire are working co-​designing tools to enable difficult questions essential to the protection of vulnerable adults. Leapfrog is running this project in partnership with facilitator Dee Hennessy.  In this blog post, Dee writes about a workshop that brought together these stakeholders.

It was extraordinary that all twelve participants made it to LICA on the morning of March 2nd. They had travelled through snow from far-​flung Derbyshire locations to work with Leon Cruickshank and Dee Hennessy on a co-​design process. The task was to imagine new approaches to the difficult conversations that need to, but don’t always take place, around safeguarding processes for vulnerable adults. It was the hope and intention of this one-​day event that this intensive and concentrated focus would result in an innovative way forward that could be adopted by their own county authority, and also have the potential to be rolled out to other local authorities facing similar challenges.

Unsure but enthusiastic, the group — senior safeguarding managers, front-​line social workers, advocates, third-​sector representatives, a fire officer, a CCG heath commissioner and the independent Chair of the Adult Safeguarding Board — worked robustly and precisely to consider the terrain within which we could legitimately work together, and then to identify the opportunities for change and improvement that might be possible within it.

The different professional perspectives in the room were discussed and reflected upon before, where possible, being brought into alignment. The word “wrangled” was used at one point to describe the challenge of achieving even that consensus within a single day. What was in scope was clearly challenging, but their approach to the task was determined and good-humoured.

 The day concluded with the group agreeing to build upon the acronyms LENS and FOCUS to construct both a sense of the big picture of the safeguarding process, and the specific means of addressing the very particular interactions that need to take place to bring that process to life.

 The Leapfrog design team will develop these ideas further before meeting up with the group again to share progress on their Derbyshire turf — hopefully in better travelling weather.